PR1: Gamification and game-based learning in schools – research study – key findings
The 21st-century skillset demanded by many a workplace these days clearly challenges the educational systems around the world, many of which still operate on 20th-century principles. As Seymour – Papert (1991) put it:
“Success in the slowly changing worlds of past centuries came from being able to do well what you were taught to do. Success in the rapidly changing world of the future depends on being able to do well what you were not taught to do.” (Vision for Education: Caperton & Papert)
Education struggles on both a systemic and an individual level to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (the term was used by Klaus Schwab in 2015 at the World Economic Forum) characterised by rapid shifts and changes in technology, which requires a flexible, open, and adaptable approach to learning and teaching that is not inherent in the way schools are run these days. Some of the issues facing teachers all over the world include the ever-decreasing attention span of their students, competition from online resources (why should we memorise facts that are readily available online), a slump in motivation and the ability to focus, the struggle to give meaningful and varied feedback to students, making learning more engaging, designing meaningful individual learning paths for students, creating a stress-free environment to enhance student productivity as well as showing the added value of education in students’ lives.
One possible answer to some of the issues outlined above might be the introduction of gamification and game-based learning, which offer certain solutions to disrupt the traditional ways in which schools function and prove to be useful tools for immersive learning and increasing student engagement. Games and playing create positive associations and stir positive emotions in most people and it seems reasonable to assume that – since everyone enjoys games and playing – their systematic introduction to the ways we learn might reap true benefits for all. In this paper, we set out to find out how teachers in four countries feel about gamification and game-based learning, how they think these concepts influenced them (both positively and negatively), what stumbling blocks they struggle with in implementing gamified structures in their schools and what sources they look to for assistance and help to solidify workable gamified practices.
In this project we have carried out a research in 4 countries: Cyprus, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. Our primary aim was to tap into teachers’ beliefs concerning gamification and game-based learning, to understand their thoughts as well as both positive and negative experiences regarding them. The research consisted of a qualitative part (interviews) and a quantitative part (a questionnaire designed based on the analysis of the interviews).
Having concluded the research and the analysis of the data gathered (interviews=n31, questionnaire=n166), it was felt that the most relevant findings were embedded in the interviews conducted. The questionnaire seemed to have reached those who were already progressing along the way of making gamification and game-based learning an integral part of their methodological arsenal. Therefore their responses in the questionnaire reflected a level of optimism and a positive attitude that did not necessarily transpire when participants of the interviews were given the time and space to elaborate on the more intricate details of pedagogical innovation using gamification and game-based learning. Furthermore, having administered the questionnaire to educators in four different countries did not seem to have yielded significantly different results in each country. Regardless, there are several points that not only gave a somewhat nuanced insight into an educator’s use of gamification and game-based learning but also marked the way for further research and training to best accommodate those willing to embark on a journey of innovation.
This file contains the key summary of these findings.